Larkhaven Farmstead Meats
A few years back we decided to turn a dozen years of dairying and cheesemaking experience and our 40 acres into a family business, and since 2005 we've been putting all our family's resources and more into building infrastructure and growing and improving our herds of sheep and goats. 2013 is our sixth year of production of Larkhaven Farmstead Cheeses. Cheesemaker M. Clare Paris has received much praise and encouragement for her offerings to the gourmet cheese board in the Pacific Northwest. Thanks for the overwhelmingly positive reception!
‘Farmstead cheese’ means cheese made only with milk produced on the same farm. This is important to us because we recognize that the delicious flavor and nutritional value of our cheeses come from the sun and the soil. Farmstead cheese enjoys the same kind of respect as does wine from an estate winery. Cheese lovers talk about the unique flavor characteristics they find only in farmstead cheese.
The flavor of cheese is largely the result of the particular combination of bacteria present in the milk and (along with molds in certain cases) in the aging cheese. Many cheesemakers gain influence over the flavor characteristics of their cheeses by pasteurizing the milk to kill off all bacteria, and then adding the desired bacteria cultures for the type of cheese being made. We prefer an approach that is softer and less exact, that has been proven successful for centuries. We focus our efforts on a protocol of procedures for maintaining the desired balance of bacteria all the way through the process: livestock care, milking practices, milk handling, culturing, equipment cleaning and sanitizing...
You can taste the difference.
Pasteurization was a great discovery for the global public health movement of the last 2 centuries. When cheesemakers discovered that an adequate product could be made also from pasteurized milk, that was seen as a welcome discovery too. Now, lots of cheese connoisseurs think that aged cheeses are simply better when made from raw milk. We agree.
Handmade in small batches
You can taste the flavor of the Okanogan Valley foothills in these cheeses.
Clare's creations are adapted from traditional recipes.